VA Begins New Community Care Program

New VA rules allow more veterans to see private doctors, urgent care

All programs focus on non-VA health care opportunities for Veterans, with provisions allowing coverage for community providers.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is launching the new MISSION Act.

The goal of the Mission Act is to expand veterans' access to health care.

Carl Blake, executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America, issues the following statement regarding the VA implementation of the Veterans Community Care Program.

"President Trump promised to give veterans greater choice", VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday will begin allowing a broad swath of its 9 million enrollees to seek medical care outside of traditional VA hospitals, the biggest shift in the USA health care system since the passage of the Affordable Care Act almost a decade ago.

Among other criteria, veterans are eligible for outside care if the Veterans Health Administration does not offer care or services needed by the veteran; if it's not able to provide services to the veteran in a way that meets the VA's quality or timeliness standards; or if the veteran and referring clinician agree that receiving care outside the VA would be in the veteran's best medical interest.

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"What this involves is the veterans being able to receive care in the community at the VA's expense and also being able to have access to other services like urgent care and emergent care", said Dr. Maureen McCarthy, Phoenix VA chief of staff.

Under the new program, veterans who have to drive more than 30 minutes for primary or mental health care or 60 minutes for specialty care are eligible to go to a private doctor, and the VA will pay the bill. Veterans served by Lebanon VAMC may call the MISSION Act Call Center at 717-272-6621 and press 6 or visit the MISSION Act information table located in the Building 17 Lobby during normal business hours through the end of June.

Under the MISSION Act's Veterans Community Care Program, veterans can expect a variety of improvements.

In 2014, the roll-out of VA Choice caused a sharp spike in workload at the Hampton VA Medical Center, one of the fastest growing veterans hospitals in the country.

Empowers Veterans with increased access to community care.

Veterans with questions can contact the Hampton VA Medical Center at 757-722-9961, ext.

"They say they have training in place to implement everything smoothly", Fuentes said.

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